Sole traders protest against Lukashenka's decree.
Almost 50% of sole traders of the Vitebsk region filed zero income tax returns ahead of July 1, when Lukashenka’s decree No. 222 regulating the work of sole traders comes into force. Such tax returns are filed if sole traders don’t plan any income.
BelaPAN news agency has learnt it from Vitebsk-based sole trader Iryna Yaskevich, the chairperson of the organising committee to create the trade union Together.
Lukashenka’s decree bans selling goods, also those imported from the Customs Union, without certificates and supporting documents. Market traders claim the requirement cannot be fulfilled. Suppliers, most of the from Russia, are not eager to give the required documents. The document sets a transit period until March 1, 2015, allowing sole traders to sell the remaining goods without documents. They need to make a list of goods and register it at a tax office by July 30, 2014. However, many sole traders turn attention to the fact that the decree doesn’t allow selling the remaining goods without certificates.
Representatives of the Ministry of Trade and the State Standartisation Committee held a joint meeting last week and allowed sole traders to sell the remaining goods without the Customs Union’s certificates, but the decision has not been officially confirmed yet.
According to Yaskevich, about 200 traders and the local authorities had a meeting at the Polatsk market in Vitebsk on June 24. The traders raised the question about the sale of the remaining goods, different requirements of the authorities to Belarusian and Russian sole traders and the non-recognition of national certificates of conformity.
“We are waiting for this paper [the permission to sell the remaining goods without certificates]. If there are no changes, sole traders will be unable to work from July 1. But people are optimistic. They hope for the better and just wait for the document,” the chairperson of Together trade union said.
“We don’t support the idea not to work. We want to work under law for our benefits. Every of us became a trader to earn money,” Yaskevich says.
The atmosphere among sole traders across Belarus remains tense. On June 13, a poster appeared at a market in Baranavichy saying that many sole traders plan to file zero income tax returns on June 30, meet with the local authorities on July 1 and inform them about the inability to continue their work, register at the unemployment centre at July 2 and come to Minsk’s Kastrychnitskaya Square on July 3 to protest against decree No. 222.
Sole traders are going to discuss the decree and the technical regulations of the Customs Union on safety of light industry products at a forum on June 30 organised by the public association Perspective.